Brantford Declares Climate Emergency

Brantford City Council has declared a climate emergency in the City of Brantford.

In a 10 – 1 vote in favour of the approved resolution, councillors underscored the city’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and to endorse a Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“By declaring this emergency at the municipal level, we are sending the message that we take this issue very seriously and that others should as well. I also believe this will make us more mindful about how the decisions we make both as a body and personally impact our environment locally and worldwide.”

Mayor Kevin Davis, City of Brantford

“Every municipality bears a particular responsibility to act with urgency to mitigate this crisis”, says Ward 4 Councillor, Cheryl Antoski, who tabled the motion to bring the declaration forward. “I am so encouraged by the overwhelming support we’ve seen for action among residents. This community has spoken loud and clear that we need to play our part and take action now.”

Brantford’s declaration was modeled after 460 other municipalities’ across the country who had brought forward the same resolution to their local government in 2019.

Ward 3 Councillor, Greg Martin was the lone vote against the motion put forward at Tuesday night’s meeting. Councillor Martin says he didn’t support the resolution because he felt the need for more concrete actions regarding the movement and previous decisions made by council contradicted the motion. Martin also says, he didn’t want to support an action be believed to be just a “feel good moment” rather than a meaningful action with a plan.

The city has recently completed a first step to developing and implementing their CCAP. Brantford’s Climate Change Officer has completed a greenhouse gas emissions inventory. This step is the first milestone in a national climate protection program designed by a federal network of 350 municipalities supporting emission reductions at a municipal level.

The city says the next steps in the development of the CCAP will be to set targets for emissions reduction and formulate a plan to meet those targets within the next year.

Several members of the public also spoke in support of the acknowledgement of a climate crisis and creating an action plan during Tuesday’s meeting.

“Although we are a small member of the world community, it’s the small steps that can inspire and lead with a great impact.”

Reverend Mark Steinacher

Ward 5 Councillor, Joshua Wall, says he is hopeful the proclamation of January 2020 to be ‘Paper Reduction Month’ in Brantford will plant the seed of inspiration for individuals and businesses on how they can help contribute to the city being carbon neutral by 2050.

“It is up to local communities to start sending a message to higher level of governments that this is the direction that we all need to go.”

Mayor Kevin Davis, City of Brantford